The No. 3 Oregon Ducks did what they needed to do, and they stayed undefeated by absolutely demolishing an inferior opponent. Not only were the California Golden Bears worse than the Ducks to begin with, but they were also suffering from some crippling injuries. Starting quarterback Zach Maynard isn’t a good QB, but he’s much better than Allan Bridgford. Cal was also missing their best player in Keenan Allen, who is the top wideout in the country. Future NFL Draft pick Matt Summers-Gavin was also out, and Cal had to deal with six injuries on defense and the loss of another WR in Bryce Treggs.
I have no idea why some people were calling this a trap game, because this was simply a “road kill” game (going off of a tweet I said in the afternoon before the game). The Golden Bears were banged up badly and were clearly the worst team to begin with. Bridgford went 9-21 with two picks, and he had no help from his receivers. In fact, Chris Harper’s two catches for 35 yards was the best line for Cal.
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The player who got Cal to the point where they could score 17 points was running back Isi Sofele, who stepped up in a big way and continues to be at his best when playing at home (5.3 YPC). Sofele even outdid Kenjon Barner by going for 134 yards on just 15 carries. But, to be fair, Barner left the game with a hand injury before returning after getting it taped up.
On the Ducks side, Barner had a slow game due to the injury with a 3.3 yards per carry average. His longest run went for ten yards, and really only Marcus Mariota had a good day on the ground for Oregon. Against Cal, the Ducks decided to air it out and did it to a great effect.
Mariota was terrific and continues to build his case for some awards, as he went 27-34 for 377 passing yards. That’s 11.1 yards per attempt. That’s incredible. Mariota also tossed six touchdown passes without a pick, and he once again showed why he is going to be an elite quarterback on a national level some day. Right now, he’s an elite QB on the conference level.
Josh Huff and De’Anthony Thomas each had over 100 yards of receiving, with Huff getting into the end zone three times in his best game of the season. I was extremely impressed by Huff and thought he was definitely the second best player on the Ducks offense today behind Mariota. Colt Lyerla also caught two TDs from the “Sea Turtle” (Mariota’s high school nickname).
The Ducks defense forced three turnovers, and Cal didn’t even have a 17% success rate on third-downs (not rounding) by going 2-12 in those situations. Oregon really handed it to Cal in this one, and they had injuries of their own. Barner left the game, Dion Jordan didn’t play, and a few other defensive players were out as well.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.